Dogs and outdoor cats can suffer burns and irritation when exposed to the most common forms of ice melt products. Rock salt and calcium chloride can become trapped in between the pads in the paws resulting in severe irritation and burns. Animals that have hypersensitivity to these products are at risk for infections and other health problems. Outdoor cats and other wildlife will instinctively lick their sore paws in an attempt to relieve the irritation. The result can be intestinal distress or even death if a large amount of salts are ingested. To help prevent sore paws, danger to wildlife, and damage to your gardens, walks, decks, and driveways, use a pet-friendly ice melt product. That raises the question—what is pet-friendly?
There is no regulation on ice melt products, so pet owners need to read the ingredients carefully. Chances are if it contains fertilizers it has urea and possibly salt in it. Not all fertilizers are safe for pets. Also read any warnings on the label. If it will damage stone or concrete surfaces, then it might cause irritation to your pet’s feet. When available, I included MSDS sheets. These sheets are required by OSHA in certain situations. Read the MSDS sheets and then make a decision as to which ice melt product will best fit your situation. Sometimes, you do not need ice melt at all, and regular sand will suffice. Sand will never harm your pets, plants, stone, or decking.
The company claims that this product is completely safe for humans, pets, and surfaces that other ice melt products may damage. It does not contain rock salt or calcium chloride. To distinguish it from other ice melt products, the pellets are dyed green. The dye main temporarily stain some surfaces, and it could turn white paws slightly green. Although it is listed as safe, there is a MSDS sheet available. According to the data sheet, it can cause slight irritation.
The blue color in this ice melt helps you to tell it from others. Morton states that this product contains urea and propylene glycol. Certified to be chloride free. This product is safe for pets, children, and plants. It should not damage stone, cement, and other surfaces that may be damaged by chloride based products. It works best in temperatures over 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
This product is 100 percent natural. It is made from green volcanic material. Unlike other ice melt products, EcoTraction does not melt. Instead, it is designed to give you immediate traction on icy surfaces. Works better than kitty litter to help get your car out of slippery situations. Safe for pets, wildlife, children, and plants. Non-toxic if ingested. When snow and ice are gone, just sweep into your garden. It will not harm plants and it is safe to use on delicate surfaces like slate, stone, cement, and wood decking. There is a downloadable MSDS sheet available
Paw-Thaw is another pet-friendly ice melt product. This one is made from fertilizers. It contains dolomite products to help increase traction on slippery surfaces. Although it is pet safe, it should not be used on precast or other concrete that is less than one year old. Paw-Thaw may not be as pet friendly as other products but it is better than chloride based formulas.
Lynda Altman loves animals and is “mom” to three rescued dogs; Izzy, Sophie, and Romeo. She is very concerned about pet health issues. Prior to the birth of her 4th child, Lynda owned an exotic pet business. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.